First day in India – 2nd Dec 2011

I decided to go to India after 2 years and landed in India on 2nd December 2011. A lot of things have changed since I last visited India in 2009. The first things I noticed was the people, lots and lots of them. Even my baby was a bit upset and frightened to see so many people going along their own business and the constant hustling with a steady noise stream. The good part was that things were moving quickly. Of course all the paper work to be done when landing in India is a pain in the a**. I filled up all the forms with a green colored gel pen. When I reached the immigration counter, I was asked to fill up the forms again using either a black or blue pen. And nowhere was it written that green ink was not accepted. Anyways, I had to waste another 20 minutes filling up those stupid forms.


I again had to stand in the queue. We were really very tired after the long journey. I had allowed a lot of people to pass by me since I was filling up the forms. Now I asked the people to return the favor but instead of helping me, everybody wanted me to get back in the long line. And then there was a pakistani diplomat who was creating a lot of fuss at the immigration counter. Luckily a good man allowed me in the queue. Once out of the immigration, we rushed towards the belt. And guess what, 3 international flight luggage was being deployed on the same small belt.


There was chaos everywhere. The number of trolleys on the airport was not enough to cater to the number of people who were expecting their luggage. Also there were quite a few people who were asking for money in exchange of allowing to us a trolley. Finally after waiting for 10 minutes and quite some searching, I was able to get a trolley with a broken wheel. I got my luggage and then started the arduous journey of going out towards customs exit and then to the Mumbai domestic airport. At the customs screening, there was a long queue again. Fortunately the customs inspector present was a good guy and after some initial questions, I was allowed to go through without any screening. I reached the domestic transfer terminal. A bus was being run to transfer the passengers from the terminal.


When the bus arrived, people rushed passed me and went into the bus. All rules of queue were broken even by non-Indians. I was able to get onto the next bus but not peacefully. I had to hit a guy in the leg to get my luggage onto the bus. He was the one who broke the queue and was trying to get ahead of me. All the heat was making me sweat. At the domestic terminal, I went to the Jet airways counter to get my tickets. I don’t know if this was intentional but there were calculating my weight in a manner which showed excess baggage of almost 40KGs. I asked them to do it again and then realized that the helper boy used to put his leg on the weighing scale while weighing so excess weight was recorded. I complained and finally the excess weight was 8KGs. Even though I had nothing in my hand luggage, I was asked to pay for the excess check-in or else carry the luggage myself into the cabin. Finally I coughed up the money and we were expecting our flight.


The worst part was not over yet. Our flight was delayed by more then 4 hours. I finally was able to board the flight at around 1300 hrs. I reached Baroda at 1400 hrs. It took us 10 hrs to reach from Copenhagen to Mumbai and it took the same amount of time for us to reach from Mumbai to Baroda. Imagine that! It was a tiresome journey. I slept for most of that day and the next. But not all in India was bad. I saw that the people in India are suffering. They are suffering from lack of services, humane values, trust and compassion. It is a dog come dog eat world out here. Most of the people I saw were honest. I also saw dishonest and greedy people. All the poor and working class people were more or less honest. The rich ones were greedy and dishonest. The young ones have become arrogant. Also when it comes to service industry, it is a disaster. Hospitality is an idea of the past.


The last time I visited India, I saw a different world. This time I saw quite some changes. The India of my dreams does not exist in reality anymore. Well only parts of it survive. The moral values and codes of the old have been lost. The youth has been distracted by uncontrolled imitation of the western values. Spiritual and humane ethics have been replaced with material values. I personally think that India is a volcano about to erupt. I will write in more details about those thoughts in my next rant. Stay tuned…